Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by The Rock and director
Peter Berg; Producer commentary; Deleted scenes montage; 'Rumble
In the Jungle' featurette; 'The Amazon' featurette; 'Hawaii Style'
featurette; 'Appetite for Destruction' featurette; 'A Rockumentary'
featurette; 'Running Down the Town' featurette; 'Walken's World'
featurette; Theatrical trailer; Easter eggs.
YOU can guess what type of film Welcome to the Jungle will be
from its opening minutes, which find former wrestler-turned-actor,
The Rock, walking into a club as Arnold Schwarzenegger walks out,
and wishes him good luck.
Five minutes later, the forward line of an American football
team has been mercilessly beaten up, as The Rock collects the
bounty he has been paid to get.
Welcome to the Jungle, needless to say, is the type of action
film that helped to launch Arnies career, albeit with nods
to the likes of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which keeps its tongue
firmly rolled into its cheek.
Yet by remaining so knowingly ridiculous, it gets away with its
wilder excesses, coming across as a gloriously over the top joyride
through action-adventure territory.
The Rock stars as modern day bounty hunter Beck, who must take
on the inevitable one last job, in order to realise
his dream of opening a restaurant.
Travelling into the heart of the
Amazon jungle, with orders to collect the wise-cracking son of
a crime boss (Seann William Scott), Beck instead finds himself
searching for lost treasure, and having to take on Christopher
Walkens unhinged despot, Hatcher, and Rosario Dawsons
guerilla leader - not to mention the perilous terrain, some horny
monkeys and the odd slice of hallucinogenic fruit.
The ensuing comedy adventure trades well on the charisma of its
stars, as well as its bone-crunching action, and makes for a fun,
if ultimately forgettable, night out at the cinema.
Director, Peter Berg, who has previously overseen Very Bad Things,
as well as episodes of Chicago Hope, seems to have fun mixing
his genres, keeping the humour light and self-deprecating throughout,
and the action brisk and urgent. And he allows his actors to play
to the strengths, without stretching them beyond their limits.
Hence, The Rock comes across as far more charismatic than most
of the knock-around action heroes of the Eighties, while Scott
is typically edgy, if a little more straight-laced than his usual
American Pie/Stifler persona. Put together, the duo have chemistry.
Walken, too, appears to be having fun, even if the trademark
quirky malevolence he brings to proceedings could have been plucked
from any one of a number of past villains he has portrayed.
And while the film does, ultimately, lose its way amid its urgency
to reach a Commando-inspired one man against the odds
finale, Berg still manages to find the comic irony of the situation.
This is, plain and simple, a Saturday night, brain-dead popcorn
flick, which aspires to be nothing else - and which feels all
the better for it.
Arnies good luck quip at the top of the movie
may not be needed, for on the evidence of this, The Rock will
certainly be coming back for some time yet.